Humanitarian Aid Critically Needed In Gaza — UN Agencies - Eastern Mirror
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Humanitarian aid critically needed in Gaza — UN agencies

By IANS Updated: May 11, 2024 9:34 am
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GENEVA — Days after the Israeli army took control of the Rafah crossing, UN agencies have reiterated the severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza and emphasised the urgent need for humanitarian assistance.

Volker Turk, the UN Human Rights Chief, issued a statement on Friday condemning actions that endanger the entry and distribution of critically needed humanitarian aid into Gaza, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The handful of land crossings into Gaza serve as lifelines for the supply of food, medicine, fuel, and other necessities that must be allowed to reach the despairing and terrified population,” he said.

Turk urged all parties involved to ensure that civilian crossings and the flow of necessary goods for civilian survival are not put at risk due to military operations.

“Given the particular importance for civilians all across Gaza of the free flow of humanitarian aid, special care must be taken by both sides to ensure that these crossings remain safe and functional, and are neither direct targets of attack nor collaterally damaged,” the UN Human Rights Chief emphasised.

He reiterated his call for all parties in the conflict to immediately cease hostilities and to facilitate full, unrestricted, and continuous humanitarian aid to meet the needs of all Palestinians in Gaza “without delay”.

“We are scraping the bottom of the barrel,” said UN Children’s Fund Senior Emergency Coordinator in Gaza, Hamish Young, who told journalists in Geneva that no fuel or humanitarian aid has entered the Gaza Strip for five days.

“This is already a huge issue for the population and all humanitarian actors but in a matter of days, if this is not corrected, the lack of fuel could grind humanitarian operations to a halt.”

The situation in Gaza has reached even “more unprecedented emergency levels,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned, with all crossings into Rafah closed or unsafe.

The shutting down of the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossing has cut off their ability to access fuel, supplies, and the transportation of humanitarian personnel, said Georgios Petropoulos, who leads OCHA’s Gaza sub-office.

He also noted that this situation has impacted the movement of civilians across the border and the ability to evacuate medical patients from Gaza.

According to OCHA, a continued lack of fuel will affect all key sectors as it could force hospitals to close and lead to a further worsening of malnutrition.

Over the next 24 hours, five hospitals run by the Palestinian Health Ministry and 28 ambulances are expected to run out of fuel.

The UN World Health Organisation’s Spokesperson Margaret Harris also spoke about the impact of fuel shortages.

“Even if you’ve got somebody back from the brink, you’ve operated on them, you’ve put them on a ventilator, (the) ventilator stops, they no longer breathe,” said Harris.

“Without fuel, no matter what everybody has done, the whole system collapses.”

By IANS Updated: May 11, 2024 9:34:58 am
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